Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Sunday claimed that the crisis in the state was not a clash between ethnic groups, but a “war against the Indian union” by Kuki militants based in Bangladesh and Myanmar collaborating.

“The current crisis in Manipur is not a clash between ethnic groups and not a law-and-order issue of the state, but purely a war against the Indian union by Myanmar and Bangladesh-based Kuki militants in collaboration with militant groups operating in Manipur,” Singh said during a press conference at the chief minister’s secretariat on Sunday evening.

Manipur has been witnessing ethnic clashes between the Kuki and Meitei communities since early May. More than 200 people have been killed and at least 60,000 have been displaced so far.

Citing the National Investigation Agency’s statement on the arrest of Seiminlun Gangte, Singh said that the Centre will “further take up necessary measures to tackle” what he alleged was a “war against the Indian union”.

On Saturday, in the document submitted to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security seeking permission to fly from Imphal airport to Delhi, the National Investigation Agency had said that Gangte’s arrest was related to a conspiracy by Chin-Kuki-Mizo militant groups and their counterparts based in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The agency said that these militant groups were carrying out terror attacks in Manipur with an intention “to create a separate state inhabited by the Chin-Kuku Mizo tribes by carving out territories from India, Bangladesh and Myanmar and to wage a war against [the] Government of India”.

The Manipur Police said that Gangte was one of the prime accused in the June 21 Kwakta bomb blast case, according to The Hindu. Three persons were injured on that day when an explosion took place in a sports utility vehicle.

On Sunday, Singh also lauded the “swift action” taken by the Central Bureau of Investigation to arrest four persons in connection with the deaths of two Meitei students who had gone missing in July.

The Central Bureau of Investigation identified the four arrested persons as Paominlun Haokip, S Malsawn Haokip, Lhingneichong Baite and Tinnuphing.

The chief minister also said that “misunderstanding and confrontation” between protestors and security forces could be avoided if rules were followed.

On Thursday, at least 40 persons were injured in clashes with security forces in state capital Imphal, the authorities at hospitals where they have been admitted told Scroll. The injuries were minor and most of them have been discharged.

The clashes erupted during a rally held by members of the Golapati Hatta Youth Volunteers Organisation as a protest against the killing of two Meitei students. The protestors were marching towards Singh’s ancestral home when security forces opened fire at them, said Raees Ahmed Tampak, the spokesperson of United Meitei-Pangal Committee.